Register Saturday | July 2 | 2022

The Summer 2022 Book Room

Bedroom Rapper

Rollie Pemberton is living proof that nerds are cool. As an “insanely weird” teen, he was experimenting with music-mixing software in his mom’s attic at a time when “the web wasn’t really popping yet.” Twenty-one years later, he won the 2021 Polaris Prize for his album Parallel World. In his memoir Bedroom Rapper (McClelland & Stewart), Pemberton—you might know him as Cadence Weapon—shares an energetic account of how his teenage enthusiasm for rhythm and storytelling led him to international success as a rapper. Writing about a cultural era so distant it almost feels like sci-fi, he describes finding a record label through internet chatrooms and opening for “a relatively new Caribbean pop star” who turns out to be Rihanna. Pemberton is charmingly candid about highs and lows with his management, his country and his own ego. He weaves a history of hip-hop (from Jamaican reggae ...

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